Special Needs Children find Confidence with Air Force Base Program

Wichita Falls, TX. - Military families with special needs children haven't always had the resources they need, but in recent years, the military has taken steps to make sure those families are well taken care of.

The Exceptional Family Member Program works with military families with members who have special needs to provide them with the support to help ease the transition of moving and living on base.

Kids bowling at Sheppard Air Force Base Saturday were all smiles, enjoying time with their family and friends and not worrying about their disability.

"We try to do events monthly for our special needs families just to get them out and let them know that we're here to help them, we're here to have fun and just to have a family fun day," says EMFP Family Support Coordinator Anna Dumont.

Dumont says the event helps boost the kids' confidence level.

"Just to let them know that they're included, to find activities as a normal child versus a special needs child, they can do the same thing that anyone can do," says Dumont.

Willie Crotsley has two special needs children.

He says the program helps his kids feel included.

"It's good for them to interact with other children that have special needs as well, they are able to be in an atmosphere with other children that are like them instead of being singled out in like a school atmosphere," says Crotsley.

The event included a meeting with the local branch of the Special Olympics.

Area Director Mike Strickland says he hopes to make a Sheppard team because he knows it can be hard for kids with special needs to find activities to get involved with.

It's kinda hard, you come in, you're trying to get your son or daughter on a sports team, you're the new person in town and two or three years later you're gonna move.

Crotsley says he's happy for the hard work the base does to help his kids, and the program has helped him to cope as well.

"We can meet and talk to other families and also help other families on base that have special needs that don't even know about the program," says Crotsley.

The Exceptional Family Member Program is funded through the base.

If you want to get involved with the Wichita Falls Special Olympics you can visit their website.


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